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OpinionWhy the EU mission in Kosovo still deserves your trust

19.11.14 @ 18:13

Over the course of the past three weeks, you have read in your morning newspaper and seen on TV several accusations about actions of some members of Eulex. We have not responded to each and every one of these ...

AgendaMogherini to chair talks on Ukraine and Ebola this WEEK

14.11.14 @ 17:23

European ministers of foreign affairs and defence will this week see how the European Union's new foreign policy chief's style differs from Catherine Ashton's. While her predecessor Ashton is still representing the EU ...

Spanish MPs to vote on Palestine recognition

04.11.14 @ 09:08

Spanish MPs will, on Tuesday (4 November), vote on a non-binding motion urging Madrid to recognise Palestinian statehood, following similar moves in Britain, Ireland, and Sweden. The motion was tabled by Antonio ...

OpinionHas the EU lost the ability to enact sanctions?

30.10.14 @ 09:28

The EU has had a rotten time trying to punch its weight on the international scene. Internal disagreements and treaty limitations mean it is little wonder that it is known as an economic giant but a political dwarf. ...

Mogherini more hawkish on Russia in EP hearing

07.10.14 @ 09:29

The EU’s next foreign policy chief, Federica Mogherini, was more hawkish on Russia in a European Parliament hearing which satisfied most MEPs. The Italian foreign minister has a Kremlin-friendly reputation after meeting ...

OpinionCan nuclear talks be a template for human rights in Iran?

18.09.14 @ 08:46

As the EU's foreign policy chief, Catherine Ashton, leads the latest round of nuclear negotiations between Iran and the P5+1 group, it has become clear to the EU and the international community that president Hassan ...

EU commission creates new foreign policy cell

11.09.14 @ 09:18

The EU foreign relations chief is to move her office back to the European Commission to steer a cell of top officials on external policy. The new commission president, Jean-Claude Juncker, set out the plan in a “mission ...

Mogherini backs Western Balkan enlargement

02.09.14 @ 20:29

Italian foreign minister and incoming EU foreign relations chief Federica Mogherini has called for progress on Western Balkan enlargement, while saying Russia is no longer an EU “strategic partner”. Mogherini spoke to ...

EU leaders meet on top jobs, Ukraine

29.08.14 @ 21:24

EU leaders are meeting in Brussels on Saturday (30 August) to clinch a deal on two top posts and to discuss further sanctions on Russia over its military intervention in Ukraine. The summit will start at 5pm local time ...

Rasmussen: Ukraine free to seek Nato membership

29.08.14 @ 15:00

Nato chief Anders Fogh Rasmussen has said Ukraine is free to pursue membership of the Western alliance despite Russian opposition. He told press in Brussels on Friday (29 August): “I’m not going to interfere in ...

OpinionEU top jobs: of dwarfs and giants

29.08.14 @ 09:28

Advertising guru and successful entrepreneur David Ogilvy recruits executives according to the following principle: "If we only hire people smaller than us, we will be a company of dwarfs. If, however, we hire people ...

Opposition to Mogherini fading in EU capital

28.08.14 @ 18:04

A deal is shaping up for Italian foreign minister Federica Mogherini to become the EU's next foreign affairs chief, provided the prime minister of Poland or a Baltic leader takes up the EU Council presidency. Several EU ...

EU leaders fail to agree on top jobs

17.07.14 @ 03:14

EU leaders on Wednesday night (16 July) failed to reach an agreement on two top jobs - the high representative for foreign policy and the next EU Council president. "It is a bit unfortunate but not dramatic, not ...

EU leaders lower expectations of top jobs deal

16.07.14 @ 21:55

EU leaders heading into a summit to decide on top posts on Wednesday (16 July) lowered expectations of a deal due to diverging views on the foreign affairs chief. German Chancellor Angela Merkel said that "it can very ...

EU in east-west divide on foreign affairs job

16.07.14 @ 08:14

Italian foreign affairs minister Federica Mogherini has emerged as a frontrunner for the EU foreign affairs job, but eastern member states find her too Russia-friendly and have threatened to block her appointment. ...

Countries want joint EU consulates, survey says

30.06.14 @ 18:20

Several member states want the EU’s overseas embassies to provide joint consular services, an EU “audit” has found. “All the member states, especially the smaller and medium-sized ones who do not have traditional ...

OpinionLearning from the past: EU aid in the Eastern Partnership

16.04.14 @ 07:41

Ukraine, in particular, badly needs effective external aid. But EU aid for reforms in Eastern Partnership countries has so far failed to bring tangible results. Brussels must change its bureaucratic and self-referential ...

German coalition draft: More powers for EU foreign service

26.11.13 @ 10:37

Germany's upcoming government will not change its eurozone policy, but wants more powers for the bloc's foreign service and a "special relationship" with Russia, according to a draft coalition agreement to be signed off ...

EU should create own spy agency, Reding says

04.11.13 @ 18:16

EU justice commissioner Viviane Reding has said the Union should create its own intelligence service by 2020. Speaking on Monday (4 November) to Greek daily Naftemporiki on the US snooping scandal, she said: "What we ...

OpinionEU leaders should change tone when talking to rest of the world

22.10.13 @ 18:05

European Commission President José Manuel Barroso was right. Had the European Union instead of the United States fallen into partial government shutdown, the world would not have hesitated to use this as an opportunity ...

Ashton calls for military-grade drones in EU airspace

22.10.13 @ 18:03

A security strategy paper by EU foreign affairs chief Catherine Ashton says EU countries should use military-grade drones for border surveillance. The EU chief is set to debate security ideas with MEPs in the plenary ...

Polish minister learning French amid speculation on EU top jobs

03.10.13 @ 09:26

Polish foreign minister Radek Sikorski has taken an intensive French language course amid talk he might be the next EU foreign relations chief. His office told EUobserver he did it during the summer holidays at the ...

EU court strikes down Iran sanctions

06.09.13 @ 19:24

The EU second-highest court has deleted sanctions against seven Iranian firms and one man accused of collusion in a nuclear weapons programme. The verdict, issued by the Luxembourg-based General Court on Friday (6 ...

MEPs: EU needs defence force 'under Union command'

04.09.13 @ 09:56

Europe should create a civilian and military crisis operations HQ under EU command, according to a report by centre-right MEPs. The proposal, contained in a policy paper published on Tuesday (3 September), by deputies ...

EU convenes emergency meeting on Egypt

16.08.13 @ 09:50

EU foreign ministers may be called to Brussels for snap talks on Egypt in the coming days. The European External Action Service (EEAS) said on Thursday (15 August) that ambassadors on the bloc's Political and Security ...

OpinionLessons EU needs to learn from the Syrian tragedy

14.08.13 @ 09:19

As the argument rages over whether to provide arms to rebels in Syria, we observe once more that initially-reluctant Western governments are pushed to act just when the available options are limited and generally ...

InvestigationBritish firm to guard EU diplomats in Beirut

12.08.13 @ 09:28

The EU foreign service has hired British firm G4S to guard its diplomats in Lebanon, amid increasing sectarian violence. The company, the world's largest private security firm, is to take over from the EU's current ...

Ashton visits Egypt amid rising tensions

29.07.13 @ 09:17

EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton is in Egypt Monday (29 July) amid high tension following the latest violence which has left scores dead. Ashton, who was also in the country earlier this month, said ahead of her ...

InvestigationMEPs voice worry on security deals at EU embassies

15.07.13 @ 09:25

MEPs have voiced concern about security arrangements at EU embassies, amid a "surprising" new decision on bodyguards in Kabul. German centre-right deputies Ingeborg Graessle and Markus Pieper, who sit on the parliament' ...

Ashton drops big ideas on EU foreign service

13.06.13 @ 09:29

The EU's foreign policy chief has said member states are not willing to give her what it takes for major reform of the European External Action Service (EEAS). Speaking to MEPs in Strasbourg on Wednesday (12 June), ...

EU countries free to ship arms to Syria

28.05.13 @ 09:27

EU countries are legally free to ship arms to Syria from 1 June in an ugly compromise after 14 hours of talks in Brussels. The deal is to see all other sanctions - including visa bans, asset freezes and a prohibition on ...

Hack the EU: IT security cuts cause concern

20.05.13 @ 09:03

A plan to cut spending on IT security in the EU diplomatic corps is causing concern among officials who handle classified files. According to the European External Action Service's (EEAS) draft budget for 2014, seen by ...

Nato chief: EU soft power is 'no power at all'

06.05.13 @ 21:26

Nato head Anders Fogh Rasmussen has said there cannot be a credible EU foreign policy without the military means to back it up. "We Europeans must understand that soft power alone is really no power at all. Without hard ...

InvestigationControversial British firm wins EU security job in Gaza

30.04.13 @ 09:22

The EU diplomatic service has confirmed that British company Page Protective Services (PPS) will guard its people in Gaza and the West Bank despite the firm's poor track record. A note published on the EU's Tenders ...

EU diplomats to spend more on salaries, less on security

24.04.13 @ 18:46

The EU diplomatic service is to pay €15 million extra in wages next year, but to make deep cuts on security. Its draft 2014 budget - circulated internally on 3 April and seen by EUobserver - says it is "fully aware of ...

InvestigationVery private security

24.04.13 @ 16:33

EU diplomats work in some of the world's most dangerous places. The men who guard them cost up to €17,000 each a month. But are they worth the money? Are the diplomats safe? Does the EU award the contracts fairly? Two ...

InvestigationEUobserver investigative reports

24.04.13 @ 16:10

EUobserver's look at private security firms is the latest in its series of investigative reports. Our investigations aim to take a critical look at events behind the scenes in EU institutions and EU capitals, or to ...

InvestigationGaza's gas: EU millions up in smoke

24.04.13 @ 09:45

“As you can see, I have no electricity at home at this moment,” says Yousef via Skype. “I have a fuel generator that I can use during the power cuts. If I run out of fuel, like now, I have a transformer connected to a ...

Ashton clinches Kosovo-Serbia deal

19.04.13 @ 20:33

Serbia is to get a date for EU accession talks, Kosovo is to get some control over its north and EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton got kudos after a breakthrough in Kosovo-Serbia talks. The deal in Brussels on ...

InvestigationEU men with guns: A comedy of errors

17.04.13 @ 16:47

Catherine Ashton's EU foreign service recently gave its biggest security contract to a company with a frightening track record. Then they took it away again, posing questions on the professionalism of her staff. Ashton' ...

OpinionEU-Iran: sanctions are no substitute for real diplomacy

03.04.13 @ 10:30

Looking beyond the next round of negotiations in April in Kazakhstan, the EU should formulate a strategic approach towards Iran. In its approach towards Iran, the EU employs the so-called twin-track method. On one hand, ...

Zimbabwean officials free to travel to EU

28.03.13 @ 18:27

Seventeen men and women directly accused of murder, torture, rape or kidnapping in Zimbabwe have been given the green light to travel to the EU. The names feature on a list of 81 people and eight companies taken off the ...

France keen for EU diplomats to beef up security, consular services

20.03.13 @ 09:25

France has called for the EU foreign service to hire a new cadre of security experts and to create consular departments in its overseas embassies. It put forward its ideas in two non-papers, seen by EUobserver, which ...

Ashton to leave EU foreign policy job next year

18.03.13 @ 14:33

EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton has said she will step down next year, noting that she is tired of all the travel. Speaking at a debate in Brussels on Saturday (16 March) organised by the German Marshall Fund, ...

Germany calls for more powerful EU diplomatic service

18.03.13 @ 09:18

Germany has proposed giving the EU's foreign service sweeping new powers over neighbourhood policy and development aid. Its ideas are to be discussed by EU foreign ministers at a meeting in Dublin on Friday (22 March). ...

Van Rompuy to retire from EU politics next year

18.03.13 @ 09:01

EU council chief Herman Van Rompuy on Sunday (17 March) said he will retire from politics when his mandate ends next year. "At the end of 2014, it's the end of my political career," the former Belgian prime minister ...

UK asserts right to 'independent foreign policy'

13.03.13 @ 09:25

British leader David Cameron has said he might send arms to rebels in Syria whether fellow EU countries like it or not. Speaking to the House of Commons liaison committee on Tuesday (12 March), he said: "I would like to ...

OpinionExternal Action Service review: why it's important

12.03.13 @ 19:25

Two years since its creation, the European External Action Service (EEAS), supposedly the EU’s foreign policy engine, is about to face a review. Some will ask: "again?" and work against the risk that the review opens a ...

EU and US urge Iran to free Mousavi

15.02.13 @ 09:26

The EU and US have called on Iran to free opposition leaders ahead of elections in June. Iranian security services put Mehdi Karroubi, Hossein Mousavi and his wife, Zahra Rahnavard, under house arrest on 14 February ...

OpinionDoes size matter? Small states and EU foreign policy

11.02.13 @ 17:13

It is always the big states that make the headlines in EU policy making. The start of 2013 has been no different on this front, from Germany’s austerity drive; to France’s intervention in Mali or Britain’s announcement ...